Surf & Tur…Oh, Never Mind

We had a wine pickup in Newberg not far from Northwest Fresh Seafood so naturally, I had to swing by and get some mussels. We were in luck, there were mussels to be had and wine was successfully picked up and stowed in the truck.

Upon returning home I set a frozen strip steak in the sous-vide-omatic at 129 for 1 hour. My goal was to basically thaw the steak and only lightly cook it as I had elaborate plans to finish it.

The Mussels

Mussels and Bread

Roughly chop three or four or five or six cloves of garlic. Pour about an inch and a half of dry white wine into a medium pot, add the garlic and begin bringing it to a boil. Toss in four or five or six tablespoons of unsalted butter. I usually toss in whatever butter is unwrapped in the fridge so the amount varies. Add a fat pinch of salt and maybe another inch of low sodium chicken broth.

Slice one red or yellow pepper and keep it aside.

Rinse the mussels in cold water and check if any are dead or damaged. If a mussel is open and won’t close when you twiddle it, it’s probably dead. Any mussels with badly broken shells should be discarded.

Once the pot is boiling vigorously toss in the mussels add the pepper on top of the mussels and cover tightly.

Ok, this is where things get a little complicated.

Before any of this was started Annette decided to make a Gingerbread Upside-down Cake. It’s one of our standbys (page 586 from the Fannie Farmer Cookbook). Before I did all that with the mussels, like the day before, I mixed up a batch of pizza dough and set it proofing. There’s nothing better than crusty bread with mussel broth, but we didn’t have any bread, so I decided to cook up a naked pizza crust in my Uuni for sopping up the broth.

Before I put the mussels in the boiling broth I fired up my Uuni and got it to temperature. Once the mussels were in I quickly tossed a pizza crust, drizzled some olive oil and dusted it with roasted garlic and a pinch of salt, and got it in the Uuni. I then ran back and forth from the stove in the house to the Uuni on the patio. Turns out, in true Uuni tradition, the bread was done long before the mussels, but it wasn’t an issue.

The sous-viding steak was done at about the same time the bread was done. I got the bread out of the Uuni, patted the steak dry, put the steak juice on the dog’s food, seasoned the steak with salt and pepper, put it in a shallow baking dish and ran it out to the Uuni.

I ran back in and dumped the now well-cooked mussels into a serving bowl, arranged for a shell bowl, cut the bread into quarters, got the white wine out of the fridge and arranged glasses. I then hauled the whole thing upstairs so we could watch something on TV whilst consuming our first course.

Crap! The steak!

I ran downstairs and pulled the very-well-charred steak out of the Uuni. It had gone in the Uuni rare. It was now well done.

Just then the timer went off for the gingerbread cake. I pulled it out of the oven and shut the oven off.

Pear-Ginger Upside Down Cake

After letting the cake cool for just a few minutes…

Pear-ginger-upside-down-cake flipped

Yay! Nothing stuck.

I tossed the poor steak into the, I thought, cooling oven to rest while we ate the mussels.

Suffice to say the mussels were very good. I mean, there’s not a whole lot to go wrong.

The steak was another story entirely. When we finished the mussels I went down to retrieve the steak that was to be served alongside some cut up romaine lettuce with caesar dressing. The poor steak was so well-done we needed actual steak knives to cut it. There are no photos, I didn’t want any evidence.

Lessons: finishing a steak in a >500° oven will work, but don’t walk away. Putting an over-finished steak into a cooling, but still pretty hot oven is a rookie error and results in a lovely strip steak becoming shoe leather. A meal with lots of moving parts should not be cobbled together at the last minute. Gingerbread Upside-down cake cooked in a sweet Field Co. cast iron pan will improve any failed meal plan.